Is Using Miralax for Children Safe?

Summary: Miralax is not indicated for children however, it can and has been used to treat constipation in kids. Most of the time it is tolerated well and is considered safe. There are small pockets of parents who claim Miralax effects their kids behavior. Depending on your child’s age and weight you should adjust the dose down. Also, I wouldn’t recommend use longer than two weeks.

Dear Curtis: My son is 5 years old. Normally he goes to the bathroom fairly regularly. But for the last two days he hasn’t gone. I called his pediatrician who recommended Miralax which he said was available over-the-counter. But I’d like to know if Miralax is safe enough for children and if I should be giving him this stuff. I’ve heard it can come with some bad side effects.

Personally, I’ve dispensed Miralax before to children. I have not had any bad feedback from it’s use. However, I certainly wouldn’t call it’s use in children common by any means.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter if it’s a prescription drug, supplement, something over the counter or a car. Most peoples experiences are OK but there will be a few outliers who have bad experiences.

I’ve heard the same stories about Miralax. There’s even a support group on Yahoo for parents of children who have had difficulty with Miralax. I’m not saying all the claims can be laid at the feet of Miralax but they seem genuine and I’m sure there is some valid points that they’ve brought up.

But, speaking in general terms, Miralax use in children – while not common – does happen and it seems to be well-tolerated.

Weight Based

As far as how to dose Miralax for your son you do want to be careful. While using Miralax in children is considered an off-label use there are specific dosing recommendations.

In adults, the normal dose is 17 grams (which is about one heaping tablespoonful) dissolved in water and consumed each day.

You should only use the adult dose in Miralax if your son is over 20kg (for Americans that roughly 44 pounds). You can also use the adult dose in children over 12 years of age.

Otherwise, the dose of Miralax should be 0.25 to 1.42 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. There are 2.2 pounds per kilogram.

As an example, let’s say your child weighs 35 pounds. Divide 35 by 2.2 (number of pounds in one kilogram) and that equals 15.9 kilograms. A rough estimation of an  effective dose of Miralax is generally in between the two numbers above. Most providers will use 0.8 g/kg/day as a good middle ground and then adjust from there.

In our example above, that means you take 0.8 g x 15.9 kilograms to get your total daily dose of 12.7 grams per day. I’d just round that down as best you can to 12 grams. Roughly speaking, that’s about 2/3 of the normal adult dose. If you uncomfortable with that dose just go down to 1/2 the normal adult dose.

Miralax Side Effects in Children

As I touched on above, I’ve read horror stories about children not tolerating Miralax well. These are generally not stomach-related side effects but more behavior type side effects (tantrums, crying, difficulty learning).

I have no idea how much weight to put on these claims. However, one thing I did notice with the complaints was that the children were instructed to be on the Miralax long term. Personally, unless it’s a rare gastrointestinal disorder, you shouldn’t be on ANY laxative long term.

I’d personally limit Miralax use to no more than two weeks. But that is just me.

The most common side effects are stomach-related (nausea, bloating, cramping and gas). In rare cases a person can get a rash which means they are allergic to Miralax.

Miralax will take a while to start working. Usually a couple of days. During that time I’d do my level best to make sure I’m feeding my child natural foods. Stop any processed foods altogether. Meats, some nuts, plenty of vegetables and some fruits.

Just like drinking fluids and peeing regularly. Constipation is almost always a sign of a poor diet. Some folks don’t like to hear that or they blame it on other circumstances. But, generally speaking, it’s correct 95% of the time. The best, long term answer, to constipation is to treat it naturally with your eating style.

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